Hemlock woolly adelgid survey
There are approximately 6.6 million hemlocks in Kentucky, 98% of which are located in the eastern one-third of the state. These hemlocks are all at risk of being attacked by the hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) which is a serious threat to Eastern and Carolina hemlock trees of all sizes. These tiny (1/16 inch) insects cover themselves with a white wool, hence the name. Feeding by this pest causes grayish-green foliage, premature needle drop, thinned crowns, branch tip dieback, and eventual tree death. Since the first report of this Asian pest in the eastern United States in 1951, HWA has become established in about half of the native hemlock range in the eastern United States and has killed about 90% of the hemlocks in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.
This devastating insect was first discovered in Kentucky in April of 2006. Forests in eastern Kentucky will be extensively surveyed for HWA. During the survey the data taken will include: 1) GPS location of the hemlock stand, 2) approximate number of hemlocks in the stand, 3) approximate area of the stand, 4) number of trees examined for HWA, 5) estimated percentage of trees infested with HWA, and 6) rating of the infestation as either none found, light, moderate, or heavy.
The survey will be conducted January through May and October through December when HWA is most easily seen and recognized since fresh wool is present. We are also participating in hemlock treatments which are described in Hot Topic: Hemlock Woolly Adelgid.